Veronica Guerin was not just an inspirational journalist, but an inspirational person 1 month ago

Veronica Guerin was not just an inspirational journalist, but an inspirational person

On a day dedicated to inspirational women, Veronica Guerin always comes to mind.

I think most Irish people would say that they can remember where they were when they heard the news that Veronica Guerin had been shot.

Advertisement

The 36-year-old journalist was shot on June 25, 1996, while stopped at a traffic light on the Naas Dual Carriageway.

Veronica with her family

I was seven years old in 1996, and while I didn't read Guerin's work at the time, growing up in an area that had been destroyed by the drugs epidemic, I saw first hand how her work changed the country.

While most children are told not to take sweets off strangers, we were warned not to take drugs off strangers as drug dealers were known to prey on teens and pre teens outside of school gates and parks.

My parents, who were teenagers in the 1980s, lost most of their school friends and neighbours to heroin or drug related crime.

In my home growing up I remember Guerin being spoken about fondly, because she was a journalist yes, but even more so because she cared.

Advertisement

She cared that drug dealers and violence was tearing about families and communities across the country.

She cared that it wasn't being spoken about.

Whether it was her original intention or not when she first started writing about organised crime, Veronica Guerin gave a voice to communities who had been suffering in silence.

Guerin's exposure of drug related crime and her murder caused national outrage and put the wheels in motion when it came to Ireland's fight against criminal gangs.

Advertisement

While I will always be thankful to Guerin for her contribution, it is still very bittersweet that her perseverance cut her life short at such a young age.

We can only imagine what Guerin would have gone on to achieve, but we live amongst the changes her words created.

We live in a country forever changed by a young mother who bravely fought for change and for what is right, and for that I will always be grateful and in admiration of Veronica Guerin.